New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire and Ranger, have added a new beer to their lineup – Rampant. Rampant is an Imperial India Pale Ale that clocks in at 85 IBU’s and 8.5% ABV. With a name like Rampant, who could resist?
New Belgium is a 100% employee owned company out of Fort Collins, Colorado. They consistently brew solid, award-winning beers. New Belgium was my first introduction to the craft beer world. I still remember to this day, when and where I was the first time I tried their flagship beer, Fat Tire. I have been hooked ever since, and I have been highly anticipating the release of their first IIPA.
Rampant is a clear, deep copper colored beer, with a fingers worth of head topping it off.
I am a huge fan of hop aroma in beer. This is achieved by adding hops late to the boil kettle or by dry hopping. Rampant doesn’t disappoint. I immediately noticed an overwhelming scent of orange peel and grapefruit. It also has subtle aromas of malt sweetness and booze. Hop aroma fades fast, so it’s best if Rampant is consumed fresh.
The taste is quite harsh at first. The bitterness mingles with a rye like spiciness and alcohol booziness. This accentuates the hop bitterness even more. Once the bitterness fades, the flavors really start to open up. The taste is quite complex, hitting many of the common citrus tones including: orange peel, peach, grape fruit, floral, and pine. The malt balances out the hops quite nicely, and finishes crisp and dry.
Overall, this is a very interesting and unique take on the style. Rampant lives up to its name, harshly bitter and aggressively hopped. Rather than creating something that had been done before, New Belgium decided to make an Imperial IPA unique to their brewery.